News & Events

HEPL / KIPAC Seminar

Monday — January 11, 2016

Pete Worden

Chairman, Breakthrough Prize Foundation

Life in the Universe and the Breakthrough Initiatives


Abstract: On July 20, 2015 at the Royal Society in London, UK, Yuri Milner and Stephen Hawking launched the Breakthrough Initiatives.

The first initiative is 'Breakthrough Listen' and represents the largest ever scientific research program aimed at finding evidence of civilizations beyond Earth. The scope and power of the search are on an unprecedented scale: The program includes a survey of the 1,000,000 closest stars to Earth. It scans the center of our galaxy and the entire galactic plane. Beyond the Milky Way, it listens for messages from the 100 closest galaxies to ours. Listen combines these instruments with innovative software and data analysis techniques. Breakthrough Listen will span 10 years and commit a total of $100,000,000.

The second initiative is 'Breakthrough Message’. If we or others succeed in discovering another civilization, what – if anything – should we say to them? The initiative aims to encourage debate about how and what to communicate with possible intelligent beings beyond earth. It takes the form of an international competition to create messages that could be read by an advanced civilization. The message must be in digital format, and should be representative of humanity and planet Earth.

The pool of prizes for Breakthrough Message totals $1,000,000.

Wiki Bio: Simon Peter "Pete" Worden, (Brig. Gen., USAF, Ret., PhD) was Director of NASA's Ames Research Center (ARC) at Moffett Field, California, until his retirement on March 31, 2015. Prior to joining NASA, he held several positions in the United States Air Force and was research professor of astronomy at the University of Arizona, Tucson. He is a recognized expert on space issues – both civil and military. Dr. Worden has authored or co-authored more than 150 scientific papers in astrophysics, space sciences, and strategic studies. He served as a scientific co-investigator for two NASA space science missions, and received the NASA Outstanding Leadership Medal for the 1994 Clementine mission.He was named the 2009 Federal Laboratory Consortium Laboratory Director of the Year.

On July 20, 2015 at the Royal Society in London, Yuri Milner and Stephen Hawking launched the Breakthrough Initiatives. At the press conference Pete Worden was introduced as the Chairman for the Breakthrough Prize Foundation. In this new role, Worden is tasked to run the Breakthrough Initiatives

Time: Noon – 1:00pm

Location: Physics/Astrophysics Bldg., Kistler Conference Room 102/103 (Map)

(Light lunch items available—or bring your own lunch—11:45am; Presentation begins12:00pm)

Open to All